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Driving Kids To Graduate




An education can be the most important factor to determine success in life. One pastor who had a lot of help completing his studies is now making sure other students have what they need to finish school. Kim Riemland explains how he is literally driving kids to graduate.

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(Locator: Westchester, Ohio)

(Driver at wheel) "Let us pray. Thank you Lord for this beautiful day. Thank you for our community, and thank you so much for our family."

Edinson DeArco hopes to help some high school students navigate life more easily. The United Methodist pastor volunteered to drive kids when the cash-strapped school system in Westchester, Ohio stopped busing.

Other Mason United Methodist Church members stepped in too- to ensure that at least some of the students could stay in school and graduate.

Lutwing Gonzalez: "I know a lot of people in the apartment complex, I have a lot of friends and they dropped out, and the reason they did it because they didn't have a ride."

Jennfer Withrow: "There were about twelve children that we found out that dropped out, but these were just twelve children within one apartment complex".

Nelsy Benito: "I was very nervous because my dad is working and my mom she don't have a license."

Eddy Cambizaca: "We didn't know what to do, so we start to pray to God. I think he listened to us."

Most of these families are headed by parents with a 5th or 6th grade education. They work two jobs. Without the rides, the teens would lose out on their dreams of becoming the first in their families to finish high school.

Edinson DeArco: "I grow up in Columbia with my grandmother in the countryside in a poor neighborhood. Many people in the church help me to go and finish my high school and this is the reason for I support this community. Because many people support me and this the only ways to say thank you to the Lord."

(Edinson DeArco driving car) "You need to believe in God support you in many different ways. But also you need to believe in you and your skill and you can do it."

(Nahary Balbec in car): "Yea I am going to love being a lawyer."

(Lutwing Gonzalez in car): "Soccer, that would be my dream."

Lutwing Gonzalez: "I am a Christian and I like it when he prays. He is trying to lead us the right way you know, the right road ... to be something positive in life and follow God's steps."

Edinson DeArco: "My goal for this community is change. In order to change this community, this community needs God, it needs education."

Nahary Balbec: "I am going to remember forever what he is doing now with us. And I am going to try to help people when I get older."

Lutwing Gonzalez: "I want to be something in life. I want to go to college. And I want to help everybody out like he's doing. You know he is an example to us. I want to make a difference like he is."

Nelsy Benito: "I have a dream to be a doctor. I want to finish my school and go to college."

Edinson Dearco: "I so excited too, because I saw many opportunities for this particular generation to change their lives. I am blessed to be of this particular moment in the history."


Mason United Methodist would like to find volunteers willing to drive the carpool to expand the ministry to more students. For more information, contact Edinson DeArco at Mason United Methodist Church at 513-398-4741 ext. 6.

Posted: May 25, 2011